Haruyuki Takahashi, a former Tokyo Olympic organizing committee executive at the heart of a widening corruption scandal over games sponsor selection, and one of his closest business partners allegedly shared a bribe from an advertising company, a source close to the matter said Wednesday.
Takahashi and Kazumasa Fukami, both former executives of Japan’s largest advertising agency Dentsu Inc., are suspected of using consulting firms that they now head to receive the money.
International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach (L) waves the Olympic flag during the closing ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics on Aug. 8, 2021, at the National Stadium. Paris will host the next Summer Games in 2024. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo
The two were served with fresh arrest warrants Tuesday for allegedly receiving around 15 million yen ($103,000) between January 2019 and February 2022 from Daiko Advertising Inc. in return for asking the committee to use the Osaka-based firm as an agent for a major English conversation school operator seeking to become a sponsor of the Summer Games.
Haruyuki Takahashi. (Kyodo)
After looking at records of deposits and withdrawals, Tokyo prosecutors suspect that at least several million yen of the bribe paid by Daiko to Fukami’s company was transferred to Takahashi’s firm, the source said.
The two consulting firms, which share the name “Commons,” had close business ties, with some of the revenue raised by Fukami’s company paid to Takahashi’s, according to the source.
Fukami’s firm, called “Commons 2,” produced commercials for clients introduced by Takahashi, who used to be his boss at Dentsu and has a wide network of contacts in sports and other business circles.
The bribery allegation adds to a series of corruption claims against Takahashi.
The former Dentsu senior managing director has been indicted for receiving bribes of around 51 million yen from business suit retailer Aoki Holdings Inc. and for accepting bribes of about 76 million yen from major publishing company Kadokawa Corp. in return for helping them to land games sponsorships.
In the Kadokawa case, prosecutors also suspect the use of Fukami’s consulting firm.
Takahashi and Fukami are suspected of directing Kadokawa to transfer the 76 million yen to Fukami’s firm, after being asked by a Kadokawa executive and another employee of the publisher to help arrange its selection as a sponsor of the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.
In the Daiko case, they allegedly told a Daiko corporate officer to send the 15 million yen to Fukami’s firm after he asked for their help in arranging for the advertising company to act as the agent for the English school operator.